Grand opening of McLaren dealership adds a bit more shine to Beverly Hills [w/video]

Any invitation to the opening of a new dealership is typically ignored. When the invite comes from McLaren, I look at the words a bit more closely… and still consider doing other things with my time. Thankfully, this time around I read the invite a second time, because virtual scrap of paper staring back from my computer screen had two intriguing words flickering away. Ron. Dennis. By themselves those words are used to describe your mailman Ron and your dentist Dennis. When placed one after the other, however, the imagery comes storming from the deeps of your brain in a fast and furious manner. Mr. Dennis is currently the executive chairman of McLaren Automotive, but he’s best known for his work prior to helming the production of the new MP4-12C. Arriving at McLaren in the fall of 1980, Dennis quickly set to work transforming a lackluster racing program into one of the most dominant forces in motorsports history. …and I have a chance to occupy Wilshire boulevard with him. Ron Dennis wasn’t the only bit of excitement waltzing into Beverly Hills this evening (though he was the most exciting for yours truly). Jay Leno arrived in his McLaren MP4-12C, and he was quickly followed by Patrick Dempsey in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. I was hoping Leno would roll up in one of the F1 examples that he owns, and I really wanted Dempsey to arrive in a spec Miata. Speaking of cars, I quickly found a few friends (other journalists enjoying the free booze, one of whom was actually doing work – the nerve on that guy!). We plunked down near a rear door with a perfect line of sight to the endless array of high-dollar machines filling the valet line. Various Porsche and Mercedes-Benz machines kept valet drivers moving, but we imagine there was a battle for the keys to a matte white Lamborghini Aventador. Those cars are all fine and dandy, but my two favorites were the ultra-clean E30 M3 and Alex Roy arriving in a Citroen SM. Roy had to explain the operation of the car to the valet at least three times before he was able to bee-line it to a random blonde and a glass of champagne. (The above picture is purely for $kaycog… just so you know, he was right behind me at some point) After the fancy folks filed in to the automaker’s new Los Angeles digs, Leno took the stage and spoke about his visit to the factory. He made a crack about ordering a unique color on a unique car only to arrive at an event in LA and see the same exact car parked out front. Jay then made a crack about how the McLaren rides as smoothly as his Citroen SM, which caused Alex Roy to yell at the stage. Leno finished up his chat to the crowd, and it was time for Ron Dennis to take the stage. The group of one percenters were getting a bit loud at this point, so Mr. Dennis stopped the intro to his speech. He told the crowd that he traveled a long way to be here tonight, and wanted everyone to be quiet so he could talk. He received his quiet, as the assembled illuminati hushed up and paid attention. Dennis spoke of the McLaren history, and how it’s shaped motorsports. It was awesome to hear, and well worth the trip from and back to the Hooniverse Southern California HQ in Orange County. He’s like a real-life version of a Guy Ritchie character, and I kept expecting him to pause and ask an assistant to “give him his fookin’ shootah’.” After Ron Dennis spoke, the music and lights came back, and the crowd re-focused on their personal merriment. McLaren sales folk wandered the crowd, and I’m sure a large number of business cards exchanged hands that could lead to more McLaren cars out on the streets of Los Angeles. For yours truly, the evening ended when Dennis was done speaking. It’s another day, another high-dollar car dealership opening shop in Beverly Hills. This event was quite a bit more special, however, because a true legend of motorsports was in attendance, and you could feel that he put his heart and soul into the MP4-12C. A Commander of the British Empire shared his passion with the LA’s elite, and demanded silence. He got that silence… and they listened. Watch Ron Dennis talk to the crowd here: Update: Better video found courtesy of the same folks thanked below… (Thanks Erik and Las de Alwis / FastLankan!) [Images courtesy of McLaren]

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